How Blast Resistance Fits into the Building Envelope Design Process
Incorporating blast resistance into the building envelope design process requires cooperation and coordination between the owner, design team, construction contractor, and subs.
There are 3 steps that greatly simplify the process. These include identifying requirements, an iterative design, and early and ongoing construction coordination.
The best result begins with a clear understanding of requirements at the beginning of design. For government projects, this step is straight-forward effort due to well-developed criteria that easily lead the team to answers, with respect to load and response requirements. Many private organizations now are requiring blast-resistant building envelopes, and there is no code to direct them to baseline requirements.
An iterative design must include input from a blast consultant throughout the process. The best approach is for the blast consultant to provide an initial briefing, regarding best practices and impacts to the building. After this, the entire design team should closely work to ensure there are no surprises at the end of the design.
Finally, early and ongoing coordination is critical. A blast consultant should be an active part of the construction bidding process (on both the owner and contractor teams) to ensure requirements and costs properly are incorporated into the final contract. Once the contract is awarded, coordination between the owner and contractor teams – and within the contractor’s team between trades – is critical to ensure the building envelope is correctly detailed and supporting elements are built to accept blast loads.